Monthly Archives: September 2011

McCook’s Henry rifle returned to rightful place

By Bob Evans

To some at the Ohio Historical Society, it’s just a rifle.

To the people of Carroll County, it’s special.

Return of the Henry Rifle

OHS Board of Trustees President Ted Prasse holds up the Henry Rifle that will be on display in the McCook House.

Following a long three-year process, the Henry Repeating Rifle believed to have been carried into battle by Daniel McCook Sr. during the Civil War was returned to its rightful place, the McCook House Museum in Carrollton.

“I am so overjoyed it’s here,” said Museum Curator Shirley Anderson.

The rifle is currently on display in the Civil War room in an airtight, temperature-controlled secure case.

It will be returned to the OHS in the fall for storage through the winter and returned in the spring.

Anderson is responsible for getting the ball rolling for the return of the rifle.

“I was here for a visit and Shirley (Anderson) said to me ‘where is the rifle’,” said Richard Prasse, president of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Historical Society.

“I brought it up at our next meeting and was told it was on display with our Civil War sections and things just went from there.

“The rifle will be much more appreciated here. It is a piece of Carroll County history.”

The return of the rifle highlighted the grand re-opening of the museum, which underwent a $625,000 renovation project.

Anderson showed Prasse how bad the condition of the building was and he went to work to secure funding for repairs.

“I went to Mark Okey, who represents Carroll County in Columbus, and he incorporated the cost into the capital budget,” Prasse said.

The Federal-style brick house built in the mid- to late-1830s received repairs to its interior and exterior walls and foundation, a new porch, heating and air-conditioning systems, new electrical wiring and the reinforcing of the main structural beam through the center of the house.

Plus, each room received a fresh coat of paint and refurbished floors.

Visitors to the museum described it with words like beautiful, gorgeous and wonderful.

“This is just gorgeous,” said Elaine Myers of Carrollton, as she toured the museum. “It is just so beautiful.”

Yolinda Diamond of Harlem Springs was making her first visit.

“I have been by this place many times, but have never come in,” she said. “This is wonderful, just gorgeous.”

The McCook House is open to the public every Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. through Labor Day.

Admission to the museum is by donation.

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Filed under Civil War, General

Men answer the Call to Arms in Columbus

Kickoff for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Ohio

Civil War re-enactors present the Colors at the 150th kickoff of the Civil War in Columbus, OH in April.

By Bob Evans

On April 15, 1861 President Abraham Lincoln issued a “call to arms” for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion after troops from the South Carolina militia fired on Fort Sumter two days earlier.

The president’s call opened a civil war that would last for four long and brutal years. Ohio responded to the call, not with the 13 regiments as requested, but with 20.

In many cases, whole families rushed to sign up to help put down the rebellion. Most thought they would defeat the Confederacy in one grand battle and be home in time to put in the fall crops.

Many troops boarded trains and headed east so quickly they were never properly mustered into service.

Last Sunday in front of the Statehouse in Columbus, members of the 1st Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) re-enacted the swearing-in ceremony as part of the kickoff of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The day’s events focused on the prominent role of Ohio and her troops in the war.

By war’s end, close to 320,000 Ohioans had answered the call, and 35,475 never returned. Only New York and Pennsylvania sent more troops to the war.

Some of the most important players in the war were from Ohio – including Major Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman and Generals Phil Sheridan and George Armstrong Custer (New Rumley). In all 99 men from Ohio reached the rank of general.

Ohioans played a role politically as well. Serving as Secretary of War was Edwin M. Stanton of Steubenville, whose statue stands in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Trying to imagine what Ohio’s soldiers faced was Adjutant General Deborah Ashenhurse, commander of the Ohio National Guard, who spoke to those who gathered for Sunday’s commemoration.

“Fathers and sons, brothers and cousins, uncles and nephews. What made these boys of 1861 answer the call?” she asked. “Ohio has never failed to answer the call and we will continue to answer the call.”

Two hundred Ohio regiments fought in the war, and seven active units trace their beginnings to that conflict.

“Two of those units are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan today,” said National Guard Historian Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Mann.

On the Statehouse lawn re-enactors from the 1st OVI and the Army of the Ohio set up a living history camp complete with tents and displays of what the 1860s soldiers would have carried with them.

Most men do re-enacting because they had ancestors who fought in the Civil War.

“My great-great grandfather fought in the war with the 8th Ohio,” said Jim Davis, 30-year veteran of re-enacting. “In some ways it is a way for me to retrace his steps and too see what he and others like him went through.”

For others, it’s the love of history.

“It is the history that I enjoy,” David McGee said while listening to period music played by the Champ Chase Fife and Drum Corps. “I enjoy standing around and answering people’s questions.”

Prior to the mustering-in ceremony, a brunch sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society in the Statehouse atrium raised money for the Flag Conservation Effort.

“This is our kickoff event for 150th Anniversary of the Civil War,” said State Rep. Mark Okey, a member of the Ohio Civil War 150 Advisory Committee. “This is a very historic place. Lincoln was here in life as well as in death. This is our chance to start to commemorate.

“We are hopeful that this is going to be a big spark for our economy. Things like this are going on all over the state,” he continued.

“This gives up an opportunity to keep history here, get tourism here, get people here and get Ohioans involved in their history so we can make this a great ecomnic benefit as well as an historical benefit.”

The Historical Society has 388 regimental flags from Ohio; 17 have been re-furbished and two are currently undergoing restoration.

The cost to preserve a flag ranges from $6,000 to $30,000, depending on condition and size.

The keynote speaker for the brunch was Wes Cowan of the PBS series “History Detectives” and an appraiser on the “Antiques Roadshow” also on PBS.

Cowan spoke about Ohio’s role in the Civil War and how so many Americans continue to have a personal connection to the war through souvenirs, letters and other memorabilia handed down through the generations.

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Filed under Abe Linclon, Civil War, North, Ohio

Old monument given new life

By Bob Evans

Mooretown Monument get new life

A Memorial Day service was held at the Mooretown Monument for the first time in over 60 years.

ROSS TWP. – The Mooretown Civil War Memorial is once again standing tall above the Yellow Creek Valley.

Time and neglect had taken its toll on the monument, commissioned in 1871 by Robert and Martha George in honor of their son, Thomas, who died at the Battle of Perryville, Ky., on Oct. 8, 1862.

The inscription on the monument also includes the names of 32 other men from Ross Township who died in the Civil War. The inscription on the monument’s base reads, “To the memory of the fallen soldiers of Ross Township, Jefferson Co. O. in the War of 1861-65.”

The monument stands more than 21 feet tall, but was originally close to 40 feet when erected. It was damaged by strip mining decades ago.

The mining company replaced the damaged Doric column, but around nine feet of the column is missing. The base was also damaged and replaced, complete with all the names on it. The old base now supports a cannon on the right side of the monument.

The refurbished monument is the results of the Mooretown Restoration Committee, which formed in 2010 to restore the monument to a grander time.

Monday, a Memorial Day service was held for the first time in approximately 60 years at the monument. About 400 people attended the potluck lunch and commemoration event.

Donna George Dunning, a descendant of the George family, praised the committee’s work. “My sister and I hold you in our hearts and give our heart-felt thanks for the work you have done,” she said. “I feel a little guilty that I haven’t been here taking care of it.” She now makes her home in Seattle, WA.

She spoke of the heritage of Ross Township and the sacrifices of its men and women. “It is for us the living to care for the high ideals for which they died,” she said, encouraging listeners to “create an even greater future” for the country.

Committee member Virginia Boyd Glenn was overwhelmed by the turnout.

“This is fantastic, absolutely unbelievable,” she said. “I never expected so many people to come out. This goes to show that people do care about this monument.”

The Committee was presented with an award from America the Beautiful for its grass-roots efforts at the monument.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 232 and its Ladies Auxiliary from Amsterdam served as the color guard.

Other entertainment included, Mackenzie Bake, who sang the National Anthem and a cannon firing demonstration by the 19th Ohio Light Artillery.

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Filed under Civil War, Mooretown Civil War Monument, Ohio